The Germans, as any half-decent linguist will telll you, have a word for everything. Take schadenfreude, for example - apparently they have a word for that, too. But opportunities to take delight in the misfortune of others have been scarce indeed for Omiya Ardija supporters since the start of the new J-League season, and one of the few clubs whose current predicament may raise a grim smile on the faces of those of an orange persuasion are surely Kashima Antlers.
Admittedly, the Antlers are still a couple of points better off than Robert Verbeek's team, but fans of the Mighty Squirrels need to take their pleasure where they can find it. But why Kashima? Well, to begin with, they have been a bogey team for Ardija ever since promotion was achieved two years ago. Four games, four defeats, one goal scored and nine conceded is Omiya's less-than-impressive record in league fixtures between the two clubs - and it is surely time for a change of fortune.
Farrah Fawcett Nishimura hopes for good luck
The second reason why the Antlers' current position may be a cause of amusement is more cultural. The Ibaraki club are perhaps the single most successful outfit in the history of the J-League and, as such, it is almost inevitable that the free-thinking intelligentsia who make up the vast majority of the Omiya support will enjoy a dignified but audible chuckle upon seeing Saturday's opponents reduced to the level of also-ran.
For the arrival as coach of Oswaldo Oliveira during the close season has heralded Kashima's poorest-ever start to a J1 campaign, a 3-3 draw at JEF United - including two goals for experienced new signing Marquinhos - and a 1-1 draw at Vissel Kobe being all that Oliveira's men have to show for their efforts. A brace from former international striker Atsushi Yanagisawa helped them to a Nabisco Cup win over Albirex Niigata; but on Wednesday evening Antlers surely hit rock-bottom, conceding a fourth-minute goal to lose 1-0 to Ventforet Kofu in front of fewer than 4500 fans.
So do you think that Kofu or Kashima have just scored?
But while Kashima were sinking to a humiliating midweek defeat, an experimental Omiya side scrapped their way to a deserved draw at Kashiwa Reysol. Which brings us to the most significant reason why Ardija fans are particularly happy to see the Antlers struggling: because right now, under these circumstances, is the best chance Omiya may get to beat them and so help to get their own season back on track.
The performance during the final half-hour against Shimizu S-Pulse last weekend and the whole of the Reysol game would appear to provide a reasonable base from which Robert Verbeek can seek to build towards his first J-League win. And if Ardija still seem to be suffering their perennial problem - a lack of cutting edge - the availability for selection of both Daigo Kobayashi and Salles can only be a significant boost to the team.
That freezing night in Kashiwa
Couple this, too, with the consistent hunger for goals shown by Kota Yoshihara and Enilton, and the Squirrels' scoring potential begins to look healthier for the Kashima match than at any time since the start of the year. It may not be pretty, but this is a game that can won. And that's another concept with which the Germans are more than familiar.